Substance Abuse Bibliography: Memoir & Nonfiction

Angel, Ann. Janis Joplin: rise up singing. 2010.
A young fan’s introduction to the life and career of the iconic music performer commemorates the fortieth anniversary of her death and draws on anecdotes from friends and band mates.

Brown, Cupcake. A Piece of Cake: a memoir. 2006.
An inspirational, frequently disturbing memoir of a troubled youth describes how the author fell victim to the ills of the child welfare system, detailing her experiences with sexual abuse, neglect, drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution, and gang banging, as well as her long and difficult struggle to rebuild her life.

Carr, David. The night of the gun: a reporter investigates the darkest story of his life, his own. 2008.
A confessional account of the author’s struggles with addiction traces his rise from a crack house regular to a columnist for “The New York times,” describing his experiences with rehabilitation, cancer, and single parenthood.

Conyers, Beverly. Everything changes: help for families of newly recovering addicts. 2009.
Everything Changes is a guide to help families navigate the first year of recovery. It explores the addicted individual’s many challenges, examines ways that families can be supportive without sacrificing their own peace of mind, and suggests ways to build a new, more rewarding relationship with their recovering loved one.

Gantos, Jack. Hole in my life. 2002.
The author relates how, as a young adult, he became a drug user and smuggler, was arrested, did time in prison, and eventually got out and went to college, all the while hoping to become a writer.

Itzkoff, Dave. Cocaine’s son: a memoir. 2011.
Growing up, David understand his father to be a trusted ally and confidant – a man who always had some hard-won wisdom to share. But he was also a junkie. As David grew older, he fell into the same trap, until he and his father hit the road in search of their ‘morning after.’

Jonnes, Jill. Hep-cats, narcs, and pipe dreams: a history of America’s romance with illegal drugs. 1996.
A social history of America’s use of drugs journeys from white middle class females of the early 1900s who were given opiates for childbirth, to the spread of marijuana and heroin through the black community via the jazz world, to the use of crack and ecstasy.

Lewis, Marc D. Memoirs of an addicted brain: a neuroscientist examines his former life on drugs. 2012, 2011.
A developmental psychologist applies his professional expertise to a study of his younger days when he used all kinds of powerful drugs – from cough medicine and alcohol to opium and LSD – to explain the neurological effects they can have on the brain and nervous system.

Lyon, Joshua. Pill head: the secret life of a painkiller addict. 2009.
A social analysis of the increase in painkiller abuse in the United States is told through a prism of the author’s own struggles, describing how he became addicted to Vicodin while performing research on the high number of people who illegally obtain and use prescription drugs for non-medical reasons.

Moyers, William Cope. Broken: my story of addiction and redemption. 2006.
The son of broadcaster Bill Moyers shares his harrowing personal battle with alcoholism and drug addiction, describing his privileged childhood, multiple relapses, and rise to a key player at the Hazelden Foundation, through which he conducts motivational intervention programs.

Ruta, Domenica. With or without you: a memoir. 2013.
A wryly comic, deeply emotional memoir of the author’s relationship with her flamboyant drug dealer mother describes her misfit youth and eventual escape into writing before succumbing to addiction and resolving to leave her past life in order to survive.

Shantz-Hilkes, Chloe, ed. Hooked: when addiction hits home. 2013.
A collection of eight profiles based on interviews with people who, as children or teens, lived with a family member with an addiction. These short, true stories touch on depression, social stigma, and the health problems caused by addiction and stress.

Sheff, David. Beautiful Boy: a father’s journey through his son’s addiction. 2008.
The story of one teenager’s descent into methamphetamine addiction is told from his father’s point of view, describing how a varsity athlete and honor student became addicted to the dangerous drug and its impact on his family.

Sheff, Nic. Tweak: (growing up on methamphetamines). 2009, 2008.
The author details his immersion in a world of hardcore drugs, revealing the mental and physical depths of addiction, and the violent relapse one summer in California that forever changed his life, leading him down the road to recovery.

Sheff, Nic. We all fall down: living with addiction. 2011.
In this powerful follow-up about his continued efforts to stay clean, Nic writes candidly about eye-opening stays at rehab centers, devastating relapses, and hard-won realizations about what it means to be a young person living with addiction.

Sixx, Nikki. The heroin diaries: a year in the life of a shattered rock star. 2007.
The co-founder of the rock band Mötley Crüe presents a candid account of his own descent into the hell of drug addiction, describing the impact of heroin on his life and the band.

Sizemore, Tom. By some miracle I made it out of there: a memoir. 2013.
An account of the acclaimed actor’s Hollywood career and struggles with methamphetamine addiction covers his Detroit background, his relationships with various co-stars, and his experiences as a father of twin boys.

Sonnenberg, Susanna. Her last death: a memoir. 2008.
The daughter of a narcissistic and addictive mother shares the story of her life as it was influenced by her glamorous and charismatic mother’s ill-fated teen elopement, compulsive lies, and dependence on cocaine, narcotics, and sex.

Stein, Michael. The addict: one patient, one doctor, one year. 2008.
Describes the medical and psychological treatment of Lucy, a recovering addict, by her doctor, including her psychological problems connected to the addiction and the doctor’s thoughts on how addiction is treated by the medical system.

Wurtzel, Elizabeth. More, now, again: a memoir of addiction. 2002.
The author offers an account of her descent into Ritalin addiction, her experiences as an addict, and her difficult struggle to gain control over the drug and her life.